Otorongo, part 1


Otorongo, the place of the Jaguar


Four degrees south of the Equator lies the camp Otorongo, meaning Jaguar in Quechuan. It is a place in the middle of pristine Amazon rain forest, totally isolated from civilisation. A one-hour ride in a speed boat up the Amazon River from Iquitos brings one to the village of Tamshiyacu. From there one has to take a motorcar for half an hour on a dirt road and walk for an additional one hour on a narrow path through thick jungle vegetation to the camp.


Iquitos in the district of Loreto surrounded by Ecuador, Columbia and Brazil



On March 21, 2021, I followed the strong calling to this remote place and travelled from Phoenix, Arizona to Otorongo, despite all the Covid rules and travel restrictions. My intention was to dive into pure nature and experience the indigenous healing plants. I stayed for four weeks.




I was required to wear two masks during the flight in Peru and got the transparent face shield at the Lima airport. The face shield was so foggy that I really had difficulties to see anything. Nobody told me that the device was covered by two sheets of transparent plastic sheets which I could take off…



In Iquitos, I was picked up by Dr. Himmelbauer, the owner of camp Otorongo.



At the harbour of Iquitos, I was very much confronted with another world. Beauty and the terror of environmental pollution were laying side by side. It was fascinating that even this accumulation of garbage looked picturesque





Amazon river shore in Iquitos





Romantic house boat at the shore of Iquitos





One of the typical boats on the Amazon river surrounded by floating green islands of all sizes




Leaving the harbour – to the right you see part of a collapsed concrete building intended to be a modern welcome center for tourists – it never was finished. It was cheaply built with insufficient engineering knowledge.





Amazon River at the shore of the village Tamshiyacu





The harbour of Tamshiyacu, where a porter carried my carry-on  bag to the street.  This did not free me of my responsibility to watch my steps –  two boards where missing in the middle of the walkway.





Dr. Himmelbauer standing beside the motorkar, which took us to the drop off spot. The taxi driver could not go further because of the muddy dirt-road. March is still rainy saison (December to March/April). I decided to walk barefoot, which became one of my favourite things I did in the jungle.




Walking through this mud is pure joy – the feet are embraced by soft, warm water and  silky clay.



Soon the road connected with the narrow jungle path. By leaving the road, I stepped into another world – a world of harmony, wholeness and beauty!



Path through the jungle to Otorongo covered by fallen leaves.





Old trees blanketed by thick moss – always magical!





Looking up





Winding path through the jungle





The workers of Dr. Himmelbauer just recently built new bridges over the swamps.  Humidity and rain, however, make the surface slippery and one has to be very careful when crossing it.





Entrance to Otorongo on a sandy path. The surface ground of Otorongo, located a tiny bit higher than the surrounding jungle, is covered by white sand. In the far distant past, Africa and South America were one land – the sand of Otorongo is the same like the sand in the Sahara. Thinking of this unity was intriguing.






Since 2002, Otorongo is owned by Dr. Himmelbauer, an Austrian psychologist and trained curandero or vegetalista (plant shaman). He also studied theology and philosophy and combines Christian values with Buddhist teachings and Shamanistic knowledge.  These three spiritual pillars find expression in the main building of Otorongo – an octogonal wooden structure with 12 windows and a palm leave thatched roof, which tapers in four levels upwards like a Buddhist Pagoda. It is possible to walk up to the top.



The temple of Otoronge looked sometimes to me like a humble being or a hen sitting on her eggs waiting for them to hatch




Inside the temple on the walkway of the first level





View down into the rotunda with a simple altar and plastic chairs






The altar photographed from the back with wooden statues of St. Augustine, Archangel Gabriel, St. John the Baptist and a local saint to the left






Walking up to the top


Wooden cabins for accommodation with palm leaf thatched roofs are randomly scattered on the fenced in camp area. The other buildings are the kitchen and dining room, toilets, a hut for storing coal and a storage cabin. Although it is a place for groups to stay 10 or more days, I had the privilege to be the only guest at that time. I thoroughly enjoyed the solitude. It was a hermitage for me.





Kitchen with dining area






Covered terrace in front of the dining room






Terrace with hammock to relax





All day long chicken were roaming around the camp, chattering and looking for food






Dining room with a long table made from a single tree






Walkway to the toilets with a blue container to the right






Fresh spring water for washing your hands






Four Organic toilets with a constant air flow to avoid a bad smell. The nearby trough containing wooden pellets was a favourite place for the chickens to lay eggs. One evening, I counted eight eggs. The next morning, every egg was gone – it became gourmet food for the racoon living there, a snake or another animal.







Walkway to the pond of Otorongo with the covered well to the right. I just came back from a jungle walk, totally soaked by heavy rain.






My cabin was a charming little place with two beds and an anti-chamber.






View into my room with the bed protected by a white mosquito net. The open wall covered by a metal mosquito net allowed me to look out into the jungle day and night.






Due to the high humidity, cloth has to hang freely in order not to mould






Chair in my room with my Panama hat made out of organic material – a big mistake to take to the jungle. First of all, I did not need a hat because it rained all the time and also, the jungle provides so much shade that a hat is not necessary. The hat was shrinking and showed black spots of mould over time.






I was in a magical cabin – day and night strings of dried grass were swaying under the roof, reminding me of dream catchers.





One of my first visitors was a little mouse looking for shelter in my carry on bag, resting on the package of face masks I brought (and did not use).






I loved to sit on the veranda of my cabin, which protected me from sun and rain.






The sound of rain was always a wonderful concert





I also loved the formation of the wood in front of my cabin – it reminded me of the typical roof formation of a Shinto shrine, the forked finials called chigi – very mysterious! Also mysterious was the face carved in my door – it triggered another memory. Two years ago I saw a similar face staring at me from a stone at a hermitage used by St. Francis and Bonaventura in Italy.





Facial features on my door





Sugar canes and the green house in the background





People who want to do a diet with a plant stay in a cabin outside of the camp with no social contact and other strict rules. I did not stay there this time.





Previous article
Next article
Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

Related Stories



Camino Primitivo, Day 20

 LIRES – MUXIA   Until the evening, heavy mist covered the coastline to Muxia. I was...

Camino Primitivo, Day 19

FISTERRE –LIRES   It was hard to leave the albergue this morning. I was very tempted...

Camino Primitivo, Day 18

 SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – FISTERRE   In Celtic times and even before, Cape Finisterre was considered...

Camino Primitivo, Day 16 /17

 MONTE DO GOZO – SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA   The history of Santiago de Compostela is closely...

Camino Primitivo, Day 15

 RAS – MONTE DEL GOZO   Although my knee wanted a rest, I did not want...

Camino Primitivo, Day 14

 MELIDE – RAS   Already in early morning, masses of pilgrims where pushing forward toward Santiago....

Popular Categories


    • I love to hear from you, dear Erica! We are soul mates and both love nature and exploring the world, inner and outer.
      I am looking forward to see your next book about your adventures! Hopefully, I see you soon too., Love, Traude

  1. Dearest Traude,
    Thank you for sharing your adventure so vividly with us. I have been wanting to hear about all the magic you experienced.
    I am missing you,
    Big love to you,

    • So good to hear from you, dear Marissa! Yes, I know, it took a while to write about it. Maybe, we can go on this adventure sometimes together. Miss you, the mountain and the whole mountain family. Love, Traude

  2. I knew a Peruvian guy whose favorite thing to do was visit the jungle…..not the Inca ruins or mountains. But the jungle was what he found peaceful. What a blessing that you had some of this to yourself. You were brave to walk through some jungle roads barefooted by the way. I wanted to know how this trip went. Thanks.

    • To be in the middle of the rain forest and living a simple life is a real treat. Walking barefoot brings you even closer to the earth, connecting you with every step. I will talk about my jungle walks in the next blog entry. Glad you like it! Love, Traude


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Discover more from Simply.Just.Walking

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading